learning process

5 Checkpoints to Expect In Your Learning Process

Back in March of 2011, I decided that I was going to become part of the John Maxwell Team. This was a big deal for me at the time as I felt that it was going to be a good way for me to get out of the funk of losing Mom. At this point, it had been just a couple of months and I figured “Hey, I’m not getting any younger. I better commit to growing myself as a professional so I’m not stuck where I am.”

Needless to say, getting started with JMT propelled me in the direction that would eventually lead me to a good part of the network that I have, including Brawn Lide, who was my roommate for the week long training at the end of the program.

Anyhow, I wanted to share with you guys a little bit from what I was thinking as of April 3rd of 2011 as I officially started off on this new journey. Hopefully it will do two things for you: 1.) Give you courage to spend money to invest in yourself. 2.) Don’t have expectations of being great at the beginning of any new venture or experience.

So I’m finally starting the John Maxwell Certification Program. And I gotta say, after the first week of “class”, I’m impressed. The faculty is spot on. I really feel that this is a capstone program to my OLS studies. One that will get me to the next big thing – being a certified Exec and Life coach.

However, when I first signed up for the program, I kept asking myself “why did I just spend as much as I did on something that I have plenty of info around me on?” I knew I could eventually get to where I wanted to be by just reading book upon book that were recommended to me through LTD. This has worked pretty well for me already.

Then it occurred to me. The reason that I did jump into the program because it IS a program that has it’s own curriculum. It’s not a collection of “best practices”. It’s a program where the faculty actually are with you step by step through the curriculum. There are even Q&A sessions. Even though it’s extra work that I’ll need to be doing and I’ll be grading myself based on what I get out of the program, this is basically how I worked in all my years in school. Everyone starts on the same level and ends up with the same outcome. I love that it’s a level playing field. I’m just down right excited!

Putting It Into Action

One of the things that has seemed to be a underlying generality about LTD and what this program has taught me so far is that “growth” does give you quite a bit in the end. Most of the time, however, I think that both are referring mostly to the growth we go through in the process of self discovery.

While a particular event might motivate you to do something, it’s only the process that matures you – that grows you. An event happens in a day while the process happens daily. And simply put, the person who has grown the most will attract others to him. The ones that have matured the most will have more meaningful relationships than those that haven’t, including romantic relationships and clients (if those are what you’re seeking).

So what am I talking about?

I’m just saying that if you want ANYTHING to change for you in life, it’s not going to change on it’s own. You need to put the effort and work in. You ought to keep an open mind. Learn to ask the big questions. Read the books you need to read. You need to do the reflecting. In fact, you might just see your life going in reverse if you don’t do these things.

Checkpoints in Your Learning Process

If you are wanting to improve in something, here are some key checkpoints that can apply to any learning process:

1.) “I don’t know what I don’t know.”

Yes, that sounds dumb at first glance, but it’s a nice way of saying that people are ignorant about something until they actually start realizing that an alternate path exists.

2.) “I know that I need to know.”

This point comes into play when you start realizing that you need to know more about a particular subject that might help you out. If you do search for more information, make sure that the source is credible and not some anonymous source that can easily be a Joe Schmoe that hasn’t been greatly successful in their life. A lot of people put their trust in people they’ve never even met on the net vs someone they can actually get bodily communication from. Why would you do that? Are they really an expert? Just make sure you do a good “Lit Review” of the material out there on any given subject as you’re starting out. It’s better to have a consensus of 10 anonymous people on the web, two people you’ve met, and checking out wikipedia vs only asking 2 people that might have some knowledge.

3.) “I know what I don’t know.”

This stage occurs when you start realizing that there actually are people out there that have been successful with something that you want to do or been curious about using a method that you don’t know much about. This is when you start formulating your strategy for your own growth based on what these others have talked about.

4.) “I know and grow – it starts to show.”

After determining the changes you need to make and taking the advice of others who have been successful in doing something you want to do, you have put the plan into motion and small results are starting to show. This is also known as the “action yields results yields belief which in turn yields action again stage”.

5.) “I simply go because of what I know.”

At this point, the action is second nature to you. You simply do something because you know it has a better outcome then what the alternative is because you’ve seen both sides of the coin.

The more you know… the more you grow!

Action Steps

As I’ve been going down this entrepreneurial path for sometime after writing this post (already 7 years!), I have to say that the words of this post make so much more to me now than I’m thinking it back then. I understand the words on a much deeper level.

For example, the podcast. Would I have done things a bit differently if I was to relaunch the show? Sure. Would I have named it something else? Ha. Perhaps.

But it is what it is. We can’t expect to be perfect right out of the gate. It’s not fair to us or the people that we’re going to help with our work. As we move forward in our craft, we learn that it’s not necessarily about the craft, it’s about the people.

Or as Shawn Askionsie said in his book Meaningful Work: A Quest to Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul, “It’s not about the chocolate, it’s about the chocolate.” Meaning his business isn’t just about making chocolate, it’s about the relationships he’s built in his direct trade based business.

I’m curious, guys. What’s some things you’ve picked up during your time as you’ve been working on your meaningful work? What are some things that you wouldn’t have known before you started working on whatever it is you’re doing? How did it help you grow as a person?

5 Steps to Meet New People at Live Events

“Be genuinely interested in everyone you meet and everyone you meet will be genuinely interested in you.”

― Rasheed Ogunlaru

If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably had instances of where you feel alone – even if you’re in the middle of a room of people. You look around you and all you see are others having a good time. You wouldn’t mind having fun too, but you don’t know anyone. To keep from looking like a loser, you play around with your phone or, better yet, start tinkering with any musical instruments that might be available. At the same time, you might be wondering, “How did I get here?” and “How do I get out?”. And, to be honest, you’re not alone.

Funny enough, all people are social. It’s part of being human. Otherwise you wouldn’t have come to this event. The catch is that some people are social in a different ways than others. Introverts, by our very nature, tend to have just a few key relationships at any one given time. However, there are times where we need to expand our horizons and meet other people that might be new friends… or, better yet, help us move on in life.

So here’s the million dollar question. How do you meet people at live events? Below is a 4 part strategy I’ve used to meet interesting people at events that I have gone to in the past.

Get Your Mind Right

Whether you’re at a job fair, a party, or a networking meeting, there are going to be people you just don’t know. But the thing is that everyone you know now besides your family are people at one time you didn’t know – (even your gaming group if you’re a gamer). How did you become friends with those people? More than likely you shared something in common. The people who are around you at this event, what do you share with them in common? That’s where you can start the conversation.

Also, there’s a good chance that other people there are introverts too and they’re just as scared as you are in reaching out. The problem is, you won’t know immediately who those people are. So it’s best to just think of all of these new faces as being just as worried as you.

Before moving onto the next part of the strategy, I want to note that just because you’re there for a certain reason doesn’t mean that you have permission to interact with people based on that permission. In fact, you probably don’t want to. Most people can sense when others want to take advantage of them. So the idea is that you don’t want to go into meeting people thinking that you’re going to get something. That type of thinking will more than likely backfire. Instead, think of yourself as a co-host of the event. You’re just there to make sure everyone has a good time. Genuinely care about those around you. Introduce people to other people. Or if you know of a tool or trick that can help someone else, teach them about it. If you can’t care about those around you, you might just want to rethink about the reason you’re there.

Make a Plan

The truth is that you’re probably not going to know everyone at this event, but that’s ok. If you’ve ever gone to a job fair, you know that it helps to research companies that are going to be there. However, not all events are job fairs, and not everyone is a recruiter. So how do you prepare?

Depending on the event, there’s a good chance you might actually know one person: the host. Even if you don’t know the host, they’re the easiest person to find out information on. So see what you can dig up on them. That’s the first thing.

The next thing you could do is email them or any other people who are putting the event together. See if there is anything you can do to help set up the event or just help in general. Even if it’s a party or cookout, helping with the keg, cleaning up, or simply helping move furniture would be appreciated.

As mentioned before, you might want to act as co-host and make the actual host’s job easier. Ask them if there’s anything you can do during the event. There might be a couple of people that might need to be paid more attention to or there might be a position that could use assistance. If the host doesn’t have anything for you, simply be interested in what others are doing and up to. Act the part of the co-host anyway. Ask if you can get them anything, help them with anything, or simply be friendly. Whether or not you’re given things to do by the host or you just play the part, you’ll get the chance to meet some interesting people AND you’ll have purpose for why you’re engaging with them.

Be Present at the Event

So the big day has arrived and you’re on your way to the event. Time to get friendly, right?

Wrong. Actually, you should have started getting friendly before this point. One thing I do on the day of event is make sure that I’m loaded up on caffeine and talked to anyone about anything that day. Get the awkwardness out early. In fact, I try to have talked to at least 5 people before I go to the event just so my mind is awake and I’m receptive to whatever might go on at the event.

Having problems chatting with people? Trying to overthink your entry banter? Don’t. Instead, think of a simple acronym: F.O.R.M.  This stands for Friendly, Occupation, Recreation, and Message.

  • Friendly – Just take a stab at the weather or compliment something that the person is wearing. Find out what brings them to the event.
  • Occupation – Ask them what they do for a living. People love talking about what they have to think about all day. Feel free to ask about how things work or why they enjoy doing that particular job.
  • Recreation – They can only talk about work for so long, however. Ask them about what they like to do for fun. Find out what they like doing with their family. You might luck out and have something in common there. Just make sure you’re not drilling them with question after question.
  • Message – If this person sounds cool, then perhaps it might be a good idea to get to know them further.  “Hey, if you’re ever in the area, we should play a round of… ” or “Hey, I’d love to pick your brain about…” or even “Hey, the next time you’re in town, I’ll show you around.” People love to be invited to do things or to get to talk about their journeys. If none of those are good requests, just let them know what you’re looking for and let them know you’ll be in contact as well about what they’re looking for.

It doesn’t have to be genius talk. But don’t be a robot and do it with everyone, change it up a little bit. Also, for bonus, if there are business cards being passed out, feel free to write some notes on it about them.

Another thing you can do is smile. When people look your direction, just a grin and a nod will do. Smiles are contagious and they show confidence. However, just make sure you don’t go overboard.

If people are a little reserved, be reserved with them. As an introvert, you should have this part down!

Of course this all doesn’t matter if YOU’RE NOT PRESENT. To be truly present is to make sure you’re giving the person you’re speaking with all of your attention. Listen and hear what they’re actually saying when you’re engaging with them. In fact, now would be a good time for me to mention that you never know who a person knows. At any one time, you might be one person away from having your world turned upside down (for the better). So make sure you’re in the moment.

Follow Up

Was there someone that you truly connected with at the event? If so, you need to reconnect with them in 24 to 48 hours. This is Networking 101. Best way that I can think of doing this is by following up with some sort of link or article that might help with something that they mentioned. If you don’t have anything to offer, just send a message saying it was nice to meet them. If you wait longer, there’s a good chance that it might never happen OR they might have forgotten you.

If they really changed your perspective on things, feel free to go for the mentions on Social Media, or if you have a platform, feel free to write about them there too!

Be Unforgettable By Being You

Finally, I’ll say that to be remembered, you need to be you. If you’re talking with someone that you look up to or you think might be looking down on you, don’t try to be a Puffer Fish. Being someone you’re not will inevitably blow up in your face.

If you’re worrying about what to say in person, write in a followup, or do… Stop. Just care about who you’re engaging with. In the end, we’re all going along the same path. Go for authenticity. Just say hi, introduce yourself, and go from there.


The next time you hear yourself wanting to meet new people, whether it’s for a new job, to find new clients, or just to gain new friends, feel free to use these tactics. The more you practice these 4 steps to engage with people, the easier it will become for you to talk with others in the future. Remember, this is simply a framework to get you out of your shell at first. There is nothing wrong with changing the game up a bit or seeing what works for you.

Chime in below with your results or if you’ve recently figured out how to engage with people let us know what worked for you.

Where to Start in Your Search for Health and "Self-Help" Knowledge

“How Old Would You Be if You Didn’t Know How Old You Wuz?” – Satchel Paige.

More often than not, whenever I have gone to the gym, I see people typically running on treadmills. Some of them are watching TV, others are just listening to their iPod’s while others are reading. When they are reading, many times they’re reading a self help book. Most of the time it’s for health, but other times it’s been for other topics. One time, I was curious about a particular book I saw and struck up a good conversation with the reader. Obviously, I was surprised that she was able to keep a conversation going on the treadmill as well as she did. But what was really astonishing was how we ended up talking about how most men are not interested in self-help. Ultimately we determined that men tend to not pursue self help because they don’t want to show signs of weakness.

I mean, this kind of makes sense because for the most part. Because everyone is in charge of their own lives. However, most of the time people, especially men, find themselves in a state of denial. The problem is that, “He who buries his head in the sand leaves even more open to vulnerability”. Think about it, whenever you see an ostrich putting its head in the sand… it’s still vulnerable, right? It’s not realizing that its far greater at risk now because it’s a.) not moving and b.) it can see the danger now.

Are you an ostrich or are you going to seek help? To acknowledge the problem right away and recognize ones’ vulnerability is not only a powerful means of self-protection, but it’s also showing strength in that you’re realizing that the solution is better than the current situation. Especially if it’s health related as the solution might mean for you to have a longer and more prolific life than not seeking help.

First Steps In Seeking Help

Now that you’ve chosen to seek out help (congrats), where do you start? Well, obviously it depends on what you’re having issues with. Many of us have problems with confidence, general people skills, and all kinds of health issues. These are just a few of the topics, obviously, but it will definitely get you started. However, with so many books out there with “so-called” experts, where do you turn? Well, here’s some criteria:

1.) Read material from people recognized as experts. Don’t put all your faith in someone that hasn’t been declared as an expert by other sources or isn’t highly recommended.

2.) If you have mentors in your life and want to be like them in that aspect of your life, find out what their sources are. Let those be a guide.

3.) Do your own research. Combine what multiple experts say. Draw your own conclusions – not what others tell you the answer is.

4.) Time tends to verify information. Just like bad theories are thrown out over time, so is bad advice. Just like new theories, new advice hasn’t had the time be proven. Self Help books that have stood the test of time (such as “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie which is going on 80 years old) are more often than not still the best practices. Remember that humans really haven’t changed that much for at least 2000 years. Health information changes more often, so make sure you check with newer resources that has older information as its foundation.